Prediction of maximal oxygen uptake from the ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate during a perceptually-regulated sub-maximal exercise test in active and sedentary participants

James Faulkner, Gaynor Parfitt, Roger Eston
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2007, 101 (3): 397-407
This study assessed whether the accuracy of predicting maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) from sub-maximal heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) values was moderated by gender and habitual activity. In total, 27 men and 18 women completed two GXTs to determine VO2max and three perceptually-regulated GXTs, incremented by RPE 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17. The RPE and HR were individually regressed against VO2max (approximately 0.96) to enable predictions of VO2max. The VO2max was predicted from three RPE ranges (9-17, 9-15, 9-13). The RPE ranges were extrapolated to RPE(19), RPE(20) and age-predicted maximal HR (HRmax(pred)). ANOVA revealed no differences between measured and predicted VO2max (P > 0.05) when the RPE range 9-17 was extrapolated to RPE(19) and HRmax(pred). Extrapolation of RPE 9-17 to RPE(20) overestimated VO2max (P < 0.05), but no differences were observed when predicted from the RPE ranges 9-15 and 9-13. The prediction of VO2max was not moderated by gender or activity status. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that HR explained additional variance in VO2max when added to the RPE (2%). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis also indicated that VO2max was significantly correlated with power output at sub-maximal RPE values of 13 and 15 (P < 0.01) in men and women. The addition of HRmax(pred) improved the accuracy of the prediction equation for men (P = 0.05) but not for women. The study confirmed the validity of estimating VO2max from perceptually-regulated, sub-maximal GXT and indicated the potential utility of regression analysis to gauge appropriate sub-maximal exercise intensities.

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